The homily by the Rev. Robert Rein, once chaplain of the Oakland Fire Department, touched many hearts as he thanked all of the finest and brightest unsung heroes and heroines for their commitment and bravery to secure, protect and serve.
"In many ways, the significant role you fulfill for us was brought to light during the events of Sept. 11," said Rein. "As a result, the people of America have experienced an awakening and a reappreciation of who you are and what you do. We pray for you because we often forget to praise and thank you for your service to us. You see us at our worst while we always expect you to be at your best.
"I stand before you this morning to reassure you that the Lord has heard your cries in the night - all of you. He has seen you brave it out and hold it in in front of your colleagues, but break down in the darkness of the night."
Knights of Columbus grand knight Frank Palermo said, "It is a blessing and an honor to co-host the Blue Mass in Antioch this year. The fact that the celebration coincided so close to the 9/11 anniversary made it extremely heartfelt."
Honored as Police Officer of the Year was 16-year Antioch veteran Scott Slinger. Capt. Edward Macumber, a firefighter for 26 years, was named Firefighter of the Year.
Firefighter of the Year Capt. Edward Macumber, left, and Police Officer of the Year Scott Slinger were honored.
"It always amazes me how the Antioch Police Department can do so much with our limited resources," said Slinger. "I am honored by the challenges of it all, to be able to help the community and to be able to work with such high-caliber people in the organization."
Macumber echoed his fellow honoree's sentiments. "I am absolutely honored," he said. "I get up every single morning and I love my job, I can't imagine doing anything else."
Ross Macumber, who has followed in his father's firefighting footsteps, said, "My father has been doing this for a long time, and is still going strong. He has seen it all, done it all. He started and still teaches fire science classes at Los Medanos. I am very proud of him."
After the Mass, Slinger, Macumber and several Knights of Columbus members received awards at a brunch at Humphrey's restaurant.